Avro Lancaster


There are literally hundreds of books written about RAF Bomber Command and the Lancaster: below are just a sample that make reference to, or have other connections with, 550 Squadron.


FIVE FIFTY FIVE FIFTY: The Wartime Story of a Lancaster Squadron Patrick Otter, 2017

The story of 550 Squadron
266 pages, nearly 100 photographs, written by one of the leading authors of books on Bomber Command.
The story from the record and with added detail from veterans, and others

For sale:
£15 (inc P&P) for those that are posted within the UK.
£10 if collected from North Killingholme.
The cost of postage to other countries will be available on request.
Cheques should be made out to "550 Squadron Association" and sent to Mike Leeman.
(If, after sending a cheque, you have heard nothing after 3 weeks then contact Mike again to check on progress.)
The Assocation newsletter (July 2017) contains the booking form for the 2017 Annual Reunion, and this includes a form to reserve/order copies of the book.

Or an order form just for the book is available here:
550 Sqdn History Form (MS Word Format)
550 Sqdn History Form (PDF Format)

The Harris Crew

TheHarrisCrew "The Harris Crew" Allyson Newburg, 2020. ISBN: 978-0-2288-2683-5 (paperback), Publisher: Tellwell Talent.

Weaving together letters written home by Flying Officer Robert Harris and first-hand accounts written by Sergeant Douglas Hicks along with Squadron records and historical archives, the author has created a riveting snapshot of the remarkable Harris Crew and their short but harrowing time with 550 Squadron.

See: http://www.theharriscrew.com for other details

I'll be back for Breakfast

Back for Breakfast "I'll be back for breakfast: the life of war hero Edgar Pickles DFC and Bar" Di Websdale-Morrissey, 2021

The arrangements for ordering the Edgar Pickles book are as follows:
A bulk order is being made to save individuals paying the Aus $ shipping rate which is very expensive, so a box of books will be packed and despatched by John Arnold and sent directly to Gary Brooks for onward despatch in the UK.
The cost is £16 for the book and £8 for post and packing costs (that's inclusive from Australia to individuals in the UK).
Contact Gary Brooks on the 550 Facebook page, or email this site and the message will be forwarded to Gary

See: https://edgarpickles.company.site/ for other details

Charlie: A journey from the Aussie bush to battle skies far away

Charlie "Charlie: A journey from the Aussie bush to battle skies far away" Cheryl Baldwin, 22 Nov. 2022, ISBN 978-0645258615, Publisher: Publicious Pty Ltd

This is the story of a young man, living and working as a Jackaroo in rural Queensland. He'd always wanted to fly. In 1941 Charlie enlisted in the RAAF's Commonwealth Empire Air Pilot Training Scheme, as part of Australia's commitment to Great Britain in its fight against Germany. Charlie's decision would take him on a journey from life on the land to far away places, by ship to Canada and then Britain, where the greatest challenges and dangers he faced were in the battle skies over Europe. A fiery crash during training in England was a setback, Charlie taking months to recover before he continued with training. In an aircrew of two Brits, three Canadians and two Aussies, Charlie would fly more than the tour of 30 missions in Lancaster bombers, his role being the Bomb aimer.

Ton-up Lancs

Ton-up Lancs Ton-up Lancs: A Photographic Record of the Thirty-five RAF Lancasters That Each Completed One Hundred Sorties Norman L.R. Franks, 2005, ISBN 978-1904943099, Publisher: Grub Street (Jul 2005)

As is clear from the title, the stories of Lancasters that carried out more than 100 missions.
Featured in the book are three 550 Squadron Lancasters:
ED905, BQ-F, Fox: Retired from operational flying.
EE139, BQ-B, The Phanton of the Ruhr: Pictures J C Hutcheson crew at the time of BQ-B 100th operation. Also of S/L Caldow and crew in 1944 and again in the 1990's, the last crew to fly this plane on operations. Retired from operational flying The Phantom now lives again as the BBMF Lancaster.
PA995, BQ-V, The Vulture Strikes: Failed to return from it's 101st sortie.

Excellent chapters on each of the planes in the book, with crew lists of all operations flown by each plane and stories and many photographs of the planes and their crews (then and now).

Lancaster: The Second World War's Greatest Bomber

Lancaster: The Second World War's Greatest Bomber Lancaster: The Second World War's Greatest Bomber Leo McKinstry: ISBN: 978-0719523533, Publisher: John Murray (Sep 2009)

A history of an iconic plane. A newly published book (3 Sept 2009) and receiving excellent reviews.

Lancaster Target

Lancaster Target Lancaster Target Jack Currie: ISBN: 978-0907579281, Publisher: Goodall Publications

Described as one of the best three books about life in Bomber Command during World War II, Lancaster Target is the story of one crew's fight to survive a full tour of operations in the night skies of wartime Europe.
Flying Lancaster bombers from RAF Wickenby (626 Squadron) in Lincolnshire between 1943 and 1944, Currie chronicles the life and death struggles against flak, night fighters and perilous weather with clarity and feeling, whilst capturing the `live for the moment' spirit of off-duty escapades.
The Aussie navigator (James Cassidy DFC*) with Currie's crew later flew his second tour with 550 Squadron.

Flying Into Hell

Flying Into Hell Flying Into Hell: The Bomber Command Offensive as Recorded by the Crews Themselves Mel Rolfe: ISBN-13: 978-1906502096, Publisher: Grub Street (30 Jun 2008)

Rolfe's documentation of 20 crews in Flying into Hell. Ditching in the Mediterranean, dodging German troops in the Ardennes or surviving a spell in Buchenwald - these consequeces of the bombing raids are powerfully brought to life in these stories of men who went to war in the skies

Cited where because stories involving two 550 Sqdn crews are recounted:

Lancaster Pilot and Flight Engineer Notes

Lancaster Pilot Notes Avro Lancaster 1,111 & X Pilots Notes Air Ministry: ISBN: 978-0907579281, Publisher: Air Data Publications (Facsimile of 1944 ed edition (July 1972))

Facsimile reproductions of the original RAF publication, the Pilots Notes form a unique record of some of the world's most famous military aircraft. Each approximately 60 pages, paper cover, with header card featuring euro hook cut-out for display.

Bomber Command Operation Hurricane

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May Press Release (PDF)
Bomber Command Operation Hurricane

The Story of Those who Flew, Fought and Failed to Return on 14 and 15 October 1944 on ops to Duisburg
Coming May 2013, ISBN: 9780957116337
Available for pre-order on Waterstones http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/marc+hall/bomber+command+-+operation+hurricane/9455037/
or via the publishers website, Fighting High: http://www.fightinghigh.com/
Information from Marc Hall

The publisher is seeking veterans who would like to attend the book signing at the Spring Duxford Airshow on Sunday 26th May 2013
Ideally veterans who flew on the 14/10/44 or 15/10/44 to Duisburg or Brunswick or perhaps any of the diversion raids launched over those days.
If there are any in 550 Squadron Association who live within easy reach of Duxford and who would like to attend for some signings then email in to the web-site and your expression of interest will be passed on.
Or, for those who follow these things, there is a Twitter fed on the publisher web-page at: http://www.fightinghigh.com/news.htm
Spring Air Show, Duxford http://www.iwm.org.uk/events/iwm-duxford/spring-air-show

Bombers Over Berlin

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Bombers Over Berlin
The RAF Offensive November 1943 - March 1944
Published 21 January 2013, ISBN: 9781781590652
Available via the publishers website, Pen & Sword: http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Bombers-Over-Berlin/p/3742/
Information from Katie Eaton (Sword and Pen)

1 Group: Swift To Attack

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1 Group: Swift To Attack
Bomber Command's Unsung Heroes
Patrick Otter
Published 4 March 2013, ISBN: 9781781590942
Available via the publishers website, Pen & Sword: http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/1-group-swift-to-attack/p/4011/
Information from Sally Preston (Sword and Pen)

Patrick Otter will be at the 550 Association Reunion in North Killingholme in July (2013) and will be more than happy to sign copies of the book on the day.

1 Group Bomber Command: An Operational Record

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1 Group Bomber Command: An Operational Record
Chris Ward with Greg Harrison and Gregorz Korcz
Published 18th June 2014, ISBN: 978 1 47382 108 8

Available via the publishers website, Pen & Sword: http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/1-Group-Bomber-Command-Hardback/p/7080/

Bombing Germany: The Final Phase

Bombing Germany: The Final Phase
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Bombing Germany: The Final Phase
Tony Redding
Published 21 Jan 2015, ISBN-10: 1473823544 ISBN-13: 978-1473823549
By Pen & Sword Books Ltd, 47 Church Street, Barnsley, South Yorks. S70 2AS Tel. 01226 734222 (price ca.£20)

Available via the publishers website, Pen & Sword: http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Bombing-Germany-The-Final-Phase-Hardback/p/9763
Or on the Amazon website: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1473823544/ref=ox_sc_act_image_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE

A new book by Tony Redding about the final few months of Bomber Command's war, concentrating on the Pforzheim raid of 23/24 February 1945 which proved to be one of the most damaging attacks of the war.
The book includes contributions from 12 aircrew of 550 Sqdn who either flew on the raid or could provide useful contributions.
There is an excellent interview with the author at: http://www.sirenonline.co.uk/archives/12224 which features a couple of mentions of 550 Squadron and North Killingholme

From A New Angle

From A New Angle
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From A New Angle
Stephen George
Published December 2015

Available via the publishers website: http://rlroyle.com/stephengeorge.html
The book is the story of Flight Engineer Stephen George DFM DFC who flew his second tour with the S/Ldr Caldow crew crew of 550 Squadron

This was a private publication, but a few copies are still available and are being sold at £10 (plus £2 P&P), a ticket price set purely to cover costs. If you are interested then you can contact Darren Harvey for details.

Wing Leader

Wing Leader Wing Leader The top scoring Allied fighter pilot of World War II, ISBN 10: 0907579876 / 0-907579-87-6 (Witness To War series)

Not a Bomber Command book - it is the story of J E "Johnnie" Johnson (later Air Vice Marshal Johnson), who served with Fighter Command squadrons throughout the war.

But of interest to 550 Squadron because on pages 247 and 248 AVC Johnson describes an event where a Lancaster bomber attacks a German military column on two low passes all guns blazing. The pilot was none other than 550 pilot F/Lt Jock Shaw DFC and Bar

Available from Crecy Publishing: see http://www.crecy.co.uk/product_info.php?products_id=27 and other books stores (e.g. Amazon)


Aeroplane July 2007 Aeroplane (July 2007 edition)

This edition of Aeroplane magazine contains a six-page article on the events at RAF Coningsby.
This includes a potted history of the plane as it served in both 100 Squadron and 550 Squadron, and many photographs from the day including a nice photo of four of the 550 Squadron Association members in front of The Phantom.

See: http://www.aeroplanemonthly.com/ (look for back issues).
Great British Bombers August 2009 Great British Bombers (August 2009 edition, £4.99)

Magazine with three articles on the Lancaster heavy bomber.
Excellent article on pg 26 which includes a detailed annotated cutaway diagram of a Mk I.
The big article is on The Phantom of the Ruhr, including pictures of the unveiling in April 2007. A good picture of 550 Association members standing below the nose-cone painting. Also a picture of the J C Hutcheson crew at the time of BQ-B 100th sortie. Reference is also made to her final flight to Aschaffenburg on 21/22 Nov 1944 after which S/L Willie Caldow had her grounded due to a "twisted fuselage".
Finally a third article on "tail-end charlie" the Lanc rear gunner.
August 1991 Flypast (August 1991 edition)
Lancaster Survivors
Brothers in Arms January 2013 Flypast (January 2013 edition, £4.25)

Feature: "Brothers in Arms: A combat tour in Lancasters"
John Elliott was a Lancaster Wireless Operator (W/Op with the Jim Lord crew); he shared his memories with Steven Bond

Dam Busters May 2013
Dam Busters May 2013
Flypast (May 2013 edition, £4.25)

Feature: "Double-sided Dambusters Poster"
Marking the 70th Anniversary of the Dambusters raid with a high-quality, double-sided poster of EE139 "The Phantom of the Ruhr" at Derwent Dam

Dam Busters May 2013 Flypast (June 2014 edition, £4.30)

Special D-Day Edition with feature item: "Opening Salvo"
Marking the 70th Anniversary of D-Day: Patrick Otter describes a raid made by 550 Squadron Avro Lancaster "J-Jig" just before midnight on June 5, 1944

Flypast June edition
550 Squadron FlyPast Lancaster 80 Souvenir edition (mid-Febuary 2022, £8.99)

Special souvenir edition with feature item: "Five Fifty"
Marking the 80th Anniversary the Avro Lancaster, Patrick Otter describes 550 Squadron's trio of "Centenarian" Lancasters and how their unit nearly had a quartet of them

Lancaster 80 special edition